Tuesday, December 25, 2012

High Capacity Magazines are not the Problem, Says La Pierre

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I say the large capacity magazines are part of the problem and perhaps banning them is the most important part of the new AWB.  I say that based on the Loughner case in which it seemed clear that he killed more people than he would have due to the 30-round magazine he used. I say it based on the Aurora shooting, in which Holmes used a 100-round drum and probably did more damage as a result.  And I base it on the Lanza shooting where it seems entirely possible that if he'd had to change magazines more often, fewer kids might have died.

La Pierre and his sycophants keep telling us it would do no good, but that same rationale does not apply to murder.  We don't argue for de-criminalizing murder because we still have them in spite of the law. No, we try to find ways to prevent them, first by making it illegal.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. What is a "large capacity" magazine? I ask this because the definition of large capacity is very arbitrarily defined. For what could be considered unambiguously large magazines, like the ones used by Loughner and Holmes, their utility is limited. Prone to jams due to the relatively weak springs used to feed them; they're universally rejected by the military and law enforcement due to their unreliability and bulky size. This manifested itself in both shootings; despite Loughner's 33 rounds an eyewitness claimed he fired "15 to 20 gunshots". Holmes had 100 rounds loaded; he is believed to have fired off 20-30 before the rifle jammed. Most people shot in the Aurora shooting were killed or injured by Holmes' shotgun and handgun, which he used after the rifle jammed. It seems that lower capacity might not make a significant difference simply because a mass murderer chooses engagement range and circumstances. The victims are usually trapped, thus a shooter can make choices about his distance and positioning which allow for a reload. Though Seung Hui-Cho had two 15 round magazines, the 170 rounds he fired during the shooting were from 17 "low-capacity" 10-round magazines. Again, trapped victims allowed him to overcome a lack of "immediate" ammunition.

    As for standard capacity, well, why do police need standard capacity? Yes, their objective is to uphold the law and be in potentially dangerous situations, but the reality is that the standards that police must abide by in order to use lethal force actually aren't that dissimilar from standards applied in most US states.

    See page 9:

    New York City Police (considered the gold standard of police forces) are authorized to use deadly force when imminent threat of death or serious physical injury is present; you would be hard pressed to find a state with statutes more restrictive than that one. Thus, a patrol officer is not unlike a private citizen in terms of tactical need. SWAT certainly obeys different rules of lethal force; but a patrol officer's use of a firearm is primarily defensive.

    Which brings me to my point. The capacities used by police, who are not using weapons offensively, are usually understood as necessary. Drug addled suspects can often withstand large numbers of shots without quitting. The necessity to reload when dealing with an armed opponent (or multiple opponents) is why police choose to use standard capacity magazines. As police made the transition from revolvers to single-stack semi-automatics, then double-stack semi-automatics, the number of officers whose lives were saved because a simple 1 or 2 extra shots they would have otherwise not had grew dramatically.

    Similarly, for private citizens who have to follow the same rules regarding lethal force and self-defense and may face similar sets of opponents, extra rounds matter. The "low-capacity" standard proposed is too low and too arbitrary. There are cases where even 30 rounds is barely sufficient against determined attackers.


    Three criminals broke into a gunstore and faced off with the owner. Using an AR-15 and a single 30 round magazine, he killed one and injured the other two in a one minute firefight. Keep that in mind. 30 was not enough to kill all threat, only sufficient to ward the remaining two off. They were arrested at a Waffle House; apparently insufficiently injured to seek medical attention. The point here is that had said man had to use 10 rounds, he'd be dead.

    Similarly, so many others who use standard capacity magazines are dependent, whether it be for home defense or against potentially feral and dangerous game, that an extra shot above an arbitrary limit can make all the difference.

    1. So, after all that, what's your position. No restrictions on mag capacity?

    2. Come up with a reasonable restriction if you're going to propose any. I frankly don't have enough data to propose a number that I would feel sufficient; but I certainly have enough data to know how absurd 10 is. Jumping down a well just because you can see the bottom is still a terrible idea.

    3. How about restricting magazines to a functional size? Really big ones jam. On second thought, let people buy what they want.

  2. As Jack said, and as others have told you many times, "high capacity" magazines tend to jam. Standard capacity magazines often can carry more than ten rounds, but what's the magic in the number ten? The number of fingers a person typcially has?

    Here's another thing to consider. During the period of the Assault Weapons [sic] Ban, gun buyers decided that if they were limited to ten rounds, they might as well have the largest rounds available. Thus the jump in popularity of the .45 after years of the "wonder nine" having been the star seller. In addition, many pocket guns shooting serious calibers were created on the idea that if you can have only ten rounds, the gun shooting them might as well be the smallest that can manage to do that.

    Whatever stupid law gets passed, good citizens will find a way around it. Criminals will ignore it.

  3. Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has confirmed that the department is looking into allegations that NBC's David Gregory violated D.C.'s gun banning laws during a recent taping of Meet the Press.

    In a discussion about gun control, host David Gregory brandished a 30-round magazine purportedly for an AR-15 or similar "assault rifle." The discussion took place on December 23, during the broadcast of NBC's Sunday morning political talk show.

    Washington D.C.’s gun laws, however, state that even possessing such a device is a violation. Meet the Press is filmed at NBC's D.C. studios.

    The law in question is titled: DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines – D.C. Official Code 7-2506.01, and reads (my bold):

    (b) No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term large capacity ammunition feeding device means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term large capacity ammunition feeding device shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

    Breitbart contacted the office of the police chief and asked if there were any plans to look into this apparent violation of the District's gun laws. In response, Chief Lanier replied, "Yes, we are investigating the incident to determine if the magazine was in fact real."

    Additionally, it has been reported that Gregory sends his kids to Sidwell Friends School in Corruptionville which has 11 armed guards, plus the Secret Service since the Obama kids also attend the school.

    Strange that Gregory would question the effectiveness of armed personnel in schools, don't you think?

    orlin sellers

    1. Hypocrisy is the chief characteristic of control freaks.

  4. It's amusing to see that David Gregory is under investigation by D.C. police for being in possession of an illegal magazine. It'll be too delicious for words if an anti-gun activist journalist goes down for violating the law that he wants shoved on the whole nation.

    Would he still be able to send his children to a private school with armed guards?

  5. "They tend to jam" is an argument for allowing them? What kind of thinking is that? What happens when they don't jam? More people get killed, that's what happens.

    Ban them sumbitches, says I.

    1. Of course you do. And if you get that ban, then you'll find something else to ban. We won't tolerate your "death by a thousand cuts" approach. There's nothing magical about the number ten. What happens when you decide that five is a better limit? You're obsessed with technical details because you know that gun control won't solve the real problems and you know that the general public gets bored with technical material. It's easier to ban something when people aren't paying attention.

    2. Even if a spree shooter is limited to 10 round magazines, he can just carry more and keep enough distance between himself and his victims to allow for the 1-2 seconds it takes him to change magazines. This would hardly be a speed-bump to these types of psychopaths. And that is presuming that we were in a world where they couldn't get larger magazines. We don't live in that world. There are so many billions of magazines in existence, that anybody could still get them.

      Note, I'm not stating that we shouldn't outlaw the magazines because we can't get rid of them. I'm arguing that it would be wasteful and impossible to get rid of them, and that if we succeeded, we would find that we had wasted all that money and effort because the spree shooters would be barely inconvenienced.

    3. Greg, I don't think anybody is not paying attention.

      T., before you said millions, now you say billions. I somehow don't think there are quite that many out there.

    4. From experience, they do jam on a regular basis and are considered by anyone considering them for self-defense as unusable.

  6. Mike,

    I am just estimating based on the number of guns out there. The number bouncing around on the news right now is almost 300,000,000 guns. It's easy to say that millions of these are classified as assault weapons under at least one of the current or past laws; probably tens of millions. Even at one magazine per gun, that gives us millions of magazines. It was this realization that made me revise my estimate when I thought about it.

    Why say billions? Well, I suppose the number could be hundreds of millions, but I was just thinking about a few factors. AR-15 shooters often buy and repair surplus magazines that have been dropped from military use. One could probably see how many of these have been sold off by the army over the years. AK, Fal, L1A1, and M1A1 shooters also use decommissioned magazines that were sold of and have continued to be sold off as militaries either replaced their magazine stockpiles or decommissioned the weapons platforms entirely. The same goes for the M1-carbine that escaped the first AWB but would fall under the new one. It has been a favorite of collectors and target shooters for years, and there are still many old, original magazines floating around.

    Additionally, millions more magazines have been made for each of the weapons I described above. Magazines wear out, so you either have to replace parts of them, or replace the whole magazine. Owners generally have anywhere from 1 to 20 magazines for each gun with the average probably being between 4 and 10. Why so many? Cheaper to buy several at once, especially when you know you will eventually buy several as you wear them out, dent one, etc.

    And none of this even begins to touch on handguns which have had magazines with standard capacities above the magic 10 round number since John Moses Browning began designing the Hi-Power in the early 1920's.

    The first semi-automatic firearm was unveiled in 1885. This is very old technology. It was not long before magazine capacities exceeded 10 rounds. The BAR was designed in 1917--there may have been something earlier, but even if this was the first, that's only 32 years.

    This means that there is almost 100 years worth of 10+ round magazines potentially out there. I don't think that Billions is much of an exaggeration.